Starting today, travelers will be able to rest a little easier than they have the past three years. For the first time since 2016, all state-run rest stops on Interstates 84, 91 and 95 are open around the clock.
Some travelers Monday morning though were just a bit early to take advantage. The doors opened at 8:30 a.m. Those who arrived earlier had only one choice – portable restrooms, something they are happy to hear are going away.
“That’s the place of last resort that you’d want to go to but when you don’t have a choice, you’ve got to deal with it,” said Kristen Sokitch of Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Travelers will not have to deal with it any longer. All state-run rest stops will now stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s a relief for many, especially truck drivers who are weary from a 14-hour shift.
“To not be able to use the rest room or get a bite to eat, even out of a vending machine, it’s frustrating,” said Charlie Robertson, a truck driver from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Due to budget cuts, the seven state-run rest stops on the interstates had been limited to daytime operation since 2016 and indoor facilities were closed from 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. Last week though, Gov. Ned Lamont announced a budget allowing these facilities to resume full-time operation.
“I want to thank Governor Lamont because Governor Lamont understands that for us to do business we’ve got to be open for business,” Danbury Mayor, Mark Boughton, said during a news conference at the Danbury rest stop on I-84.
Department of Transportation Commissioner, Joseph Giulietti was happy to provide travelers something more than portable rest rooms.
“We’ve always felt these rest areas are important safety amenities for travelers and especially truckers who need a place to rest and park overnight,” Giulietti said.
While at the Danbury rest stop the governor said, “Danbury is the front door to the State of Connecticut.”
Lamont explained there are more than 1,000 cars that visit that rest stop every day and it’s important to give them a positive experience.
“We welcome you. We want you to come to Connecticut so that you stay in Connecticut,” the governor said. “Enjoy the amazing things we have to offer for a long weekend and some of you stay longer than that.”